Tom Hernandez

Director of Communications

  (630) 513-2593
Date:

June 28, 2005

Education Partners, good afternoon:

The Board of Education last night put the proposed 2005-06 budget on public display. Despite some financial challenges, the proposed budget begins to meet the community’s goals for District 303. Here is the Board of Education Meeting Synopsis with more information about this issue and other topics of interest: http://www.d303.org/Board/mostrecent.pdf

Speaking of the proposed budget, we’ve posted a complete Budget Information Page on the front page of the District 303 website, including an Executive Summary, “Budget Basics” overview, letter to the community from Dr. Erwin (see below), and the official press release. Click here: http://www.d303.org/about/budget0506main.htm

The Board last night also approved hiring a new K-12 Social Studies Curriculum Specialist for the newly-renamed and re-focused Department of Teaching and Learning (formerly Curriculum and Instruction). This is the second of six such positions to be filled as part of the department’s ongoing reorganization. That process includes changing the former curriculum positions to “content specialists” to improve and better coordinate teaching and learning system-wide.

More information is forthcoming about this major initiative to ensure the very best attention, resources and support for all of our students.

Have a great day,
Tom Hernandez

Dear District 303 Community:

For several months, your District 303 administration has been crafting a proposed 2005-2006 budget that will help meet the community’s goal of increased academic achievement and personal growth for ALL.

Budgets, especially those for large public institutions like ours, can often be complex and confusing. I hope that this letter will lessen some of that confusion by showing some of what you can expect to receive in 2005-2006 for your education tax dollar.

The Board of Education has reviewed the proposed 2005-2006 budget. It will now be on public display through August 8, 2005, when the Board will hold a public hearing at its regular meeting that night.

The entire document can be reviewed at the St. Charles Public Library, 1 S. Sixth Ave., St. Charles, the District 303 Administrative Center, 201 S. Seventh Street, St. Charles, or on the District 303 website (www.d303.org).

Our biggest objective with the proposed budget is to ensure that every child makes AYP (adequate yearly progress) and that our district meets state and federal learning expectations by 2014. This will be a long and challenging process, and this budget reflects the first strategic steps toward that goal.

By the end of next school year, District 303 will:

  • Be trained in Smart Goals, Smart Schools, a continuous improvement model similar to the Baldridge model for private business. Smart Goals, Smart Schools will enable staff, community members, parents, the Board of Education and administration to plan, execute, measure and adjust our work to improve student achievement.
  • Build a centralized data center, which will allow us to access, analyze and synthesize any piece of data down to the individual student.
  • Provide more early intervention counseling and support for our children, especially in the area of prevention.
  • Start tracking the success of our high school graduates.
  • Complete reorganizing our curriculum and instruction department -- beginning with a new title, Teaching and Learning – to make sure ALL get the attention, resources and support needed across the district. That will also include increased services for gifted and talented children.
  • Continue work to increase high school rigor. This will entail an overall reform of high school teaching and learning, including better articulation for Advanced Placement courses and increased performance on the ACT, including a review of graduation requirements and weighted grades.
  • Administer benchmark assessments that will inform instruction and make parents aware of student progress.
  • Implement new high school science and English classes.
  • Provide new social studies textbooks at the elementary and middle school levels.
  • Respond more efficiently to parent concerns through a K-12 Ombudsman initiative.
  • Pay competitive salaries to teachers and staff to meet the community’s goal of attracting and retaining the very best educators and administrators for District 303.

On the capital side, we expect to:

  • Complete construction of the new transportation and maintenance facility.
  • Install new carpeting in the Learning Resource Centers at Haines Middle and Richmond Elementary schools.
  • Install new boilers at Haines Middle School.
  • Complete major roof repairs at Ferson Creek and Fox Ridge elementary schools.
  • Significantly increase technology funding by over $700,000 to begin building a robust, reliable network to better support teaching, learning and administration.
  • Purchase three new buses to accommodate student growth.

These are only a few examples of the many efforts being made through this budget to support the Vision Statement and Goals that the District 303 community created last October to guide our work.

It is equally important to understand that numerous other initiatives, programs and plans had to be delayed for lack of sufficient funding.

Still the proposed 2005-2006 budget will allow us to make significant, meaningful progress toward our shared objective of making District 303 the “Lighthouse District” we believe it can be.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about the proposed 2005-2006 budget. I will be happy to review any details. It is important that our community understand their education tax dollars really do impact student achievement.

I am honored and pleased to lead District 303 during this exciting time in our history.

Regards,
Dr. Barbara F. Erwin
Superintendent of Schools
Community Unit School District 303